ST. FRANCIS, Wis. – Milwaukee forward Drew Gooden – a citizen of the league who has been with 10 teams in eight-plus seasons – almost literally has been there, done that at this time of year. This is the sixth franchise with which Gooden has gone through an NBA training camp.
“Every year is something new to me and new plays to learn,” said the veteran power forward, who signed a five-year, $32 million contract with the Bucks this summer. The, laughing, Gooden added: “But I’ve been around so much, I already know these plays.”
Not surprisingly, Gooden praised the camp being run this week by coach Scott Skiles and his staff. He appreciated that the players had a few extra hours between hard practices, from the morning session Tuesday to the afternoon one Wednesday. The two in between were non-contact. “Coach Skiles played in the league,” Gooden said. “He knows how we feel. It’s not like he ain’t been on that floor doing two-a-days.”
So with so many autumn grinds behind him, the obvious question was: Which of Gooden’s many camps was the toughest? “My rookie year [2002-03] with Sidney Lowe in Memphis,” he said. “It wasn’t just because I was a rookie. The rules are different. The new [collective bargaining agreement] allowed us to only do training camp for a week – then, you could have training camp for a month. You could have two-a-days all the way up until the regular season.
“We were almost up until season opener, having double-days, running suicides. We still didn’t win the games. But we were in shape.”
At the risk of sounding like a back-in-my-day geezer, Gooden did go a little old-school on Bucks rookies Larry Sanders and Tiny Gallon this week. In regards to the rigors of camp, he told them: “You guys have got it made.”
Said Gooden: “They’re never easy. The Chicago Bulls camp [in 2008-09 with coach Vinny Del Negro] was probably one of the easier ones. But at the end of the day, your body is going to hurt somewhere.”